The Coen Brothers are regarded as one of the most inventive and unique talents in independent film-making. Joel directs, Ethan produces, and together they have created films that rework the standard genres.
Typical Coen trademarks include a complex plot, bizarre situations, and nasty criminals. And don't forget a bungled crime! The dialogue is sharp and witty, the cinematography astounding.
Their debut film "Blood Simple" (1984), a stylish homage to film noir, received significant critical acclaim and established the brothers as a fresh, original talent. "Raising Arizona" (1989), a wacky comedy about a kidnapping (a recurring theme in their films) followed and was the first film to bring their distinctive style to a wider audience.
The 90s saw them continue to disregard Hollywood and make films in their own way. "Miller's Crossing" (1990) revised the gangster genre, the visually dazzling "Barton Fink" (1991), took the grand prize at Cannes, but their big budget effort "The Hudsucker Proxy" (1994) failed critically and commercially.
Their mainstream success came with the multi-award winning "Fargo" (1996). This black comedy about kidnapping and retribution in small-town American had an unexpected humanity that touched audiences. While "The Big Lebowski" (1998) courted mixed reviews, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (2000), returned to the madcap comedy of "Raising Arizona" and along with its outstanding cinematography, enjoyed considerable praise.
Up next is "The Man Who Wasn't There", an homage to film noir starring Billy Bob thornton. Making blockbusters is not in the Coens' remit but their weird view of the world will no doubt continue to endear them to their fans.